When you first start dating, for most people around their teens, you’re brand new to this whole love thing, and the learning curve can be steep. Really steep. As teenagers, we like to think we know everything. By the time we reach our twenties, we understand that’s simply not the case. After years of bad dates, wrong relationships, and disastrous breakups, you can build up quite the extensive knowledge of what to do and what not to do when it comes to dating.
By the end of your twenties, your priorities have probably changed significantly from your teenage years, and you’re much more aware of what you want in a partner and in a relationship. Here are some things we’ve learned along the way.
Games are boring and overrated.
We probably know this in our twenties, too, but seem to be a lot more tolerant of it than we are as we get older. There’s absolutely no point in playing the “It has only been an hour, so I’m not going to text back just yet” game. If you’re interested and you want to reply to a message, do so. Where does feigning disinterest really get you? Relationships are hard enough, especially if you’re in a relationship with someone older or an interracial relationship. Don’t make it harder.
You deserve someone who deserves you.
It’s not enough to have someone who occasionally makes you happy and confuses you, or even makes you sad the rest of the time. The balance needs to be more positive and less negative. Otherwise, why are you still dating?
The same goes for finding a spark. When we’re younger, we can be so keen to be anything other than single that we force chemistry that simply isn’t there. If it’s not there, it’s time to move on. Don’t waste time you could use to find The One.
Pretending you’re someone or something you’re not is a sure-fire way to guarantee things will go wrong. Either the person you’re dating will find out, anyway, and explaining yourself will be both difficult and awkward, or you’ll be trapped living a lie for the duration of the relationship. Rather than pretending to impress, think of it this way – if someone doesn’t want you for who you really are, why do you want them?
Spend time alone.
It’s crucial when you’re in a relationship to make sure you still get enough ‘me time.’ Learning to be alone is an essential part of growing into adulthood, and as you get older, you’ll realize that not seeing your partner every day doesn’t mean you don’t have a great relationship. In fact, making sure you both have enough time to do what you need to do outside of your couple time can make the days you do spend together even more special.
Your past doesn’t have to be your future.
Many of us have been hurt badly in past relationships – sometimes more than once. While it’s important to remember the ways we’ve been hurt so we know what we do and don’t want from future partners, it’s important to also let go of that hurt, or you’ll never be able to open up to a new person. It can take a while, especially if you’ve been badly hurt, but remember this – your new partner isn’t your old partner, and they might just be worth the effort.